Never Beyond? Now just wait a daggum minute

This is a picture put out this week by a group called People Of The Second Chance. This is the latest in a series of posts about who may have wandered out past our limits of a second chance. Here is my initial reaction.

WHAT THE... now just hold on a stinking minute. Have you lost your ever-loving mind? Are you totally crazy? What could you have possibly be thinking? This is a mass murderer, a man who commissioned and planned the murders of men, women and children that refused to cow to his beliefs and demands. How in the world can you even entertain the idea of asking me to give a second chance to a... terroristic zealot like this man.

That was my internal conversation yesterday. Every time I looked at this picture I cringed inside. I even asked my friend Tanner, "do we offer a second chance even if it risks someones life?" Hey said "sometimes that is the price." Me: "that's a steep price." -end of conversation-

So today I was reading some of the comments about this man we know as Osama Bin-Laden. I watched recently the world rejoice at the death of this man. I myself was conflicted about that, I wonder what our reaction would have been if word had come out that Bin-Laden had laid down his weapons, and repented of his past acts, pledging a new life and a new tactic: peaceful resistance... I wonder how the the might I have reacted to that? How might you have reacted to a repenting terrorist?

The I think back to Acts 9: There was this dude back in the 1st Century that the bible says was breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples, and had obtained letters to seek out, arrest, and bring to account any who belonged to the Way. This guy Saul was what we would consider a terrorist. Yet while he was on his appointed rounds, Jesus has another idea of how to handle Saul...convert him! The reaction of the people of the Way was skeptical at best. Most would not believe that this man had changed, that this was all a clever scheme to infiltrate the Way and take out the leaders. One man named Ananias was told by God to go and see Saul and touch Saul, and baptize Saul. Ananias reasoned with God that surely this was a foolish mission, a trap. This Saul had warrants for the arrest of any Christian, even any one suspected of following this Christ. The Lord simply told Ananias to go.

How do you react to this story? Is your initial response to say, yes but Jesus called out this man Saul, by name. Do you think that God rejoiced at the killing of this man Bin-Laden? Or does God grant the opportunity of grace to all?

This is what I wrestle with when I see this picture, this image of a man with seemingly no respect for human life unless it fell lockstep in with him. I wrestle with the idea of a second chance for a man who killed, i wrestle with a second chance of the prisoners of Guantanamo, I wrestle with the possible parole of the kidnapper of a friends wife, I wrestle with the offer of grace to those who offend me, I wrestle with the hope of forgiveness to the coach who allegedly sexually assaulted young boys, I wrestle with kindness to those who violate my principles, I wrestle with extending grace to those that make it difficult, I wrestle with God over who might be saved.

So, take a minute today, pray then look at this image of a man who destroyed so many. Then ask God what he would have you do. What he would have you offer. Ask God if second chances are supposed to be this radical.

simply HIS,


Unknown said…
Yes. Second chances are radical, but this is what Christ Does. Victims need to forgive their attackers. I do not say this without tears. Look at the Parable of the Unforgiving student (I mean servant, Freudian slip) Matt 18, We must forgive because the King has pardoned us. Your trespasses meant something and they cost much, blood. Jesus' blood covers every sin, including the people who hurt you. And before you start saying, "this guy has never known hurt, he knows nothing of the cost of pain." Jesus has granted me strength to forgive my rapist. I desire him to have a second chance in Jesus. I pray that Christ reigns in him and that he knows his debt to me is forgiven. No one deserves hell Especially your enemies. What we are truly afraid of from God is reconciliation. Now if God chooses to put Tim back in my life, he will not watch my household. But he will be loved. Everyone can have the forgiveness of Christ. Christ forgave all on the Cross, and i believe a teacher is not above his student. Healing is a choice my friend, Being healed releases the demons that keep you captive. The torment leaves when it is given to God. Can demon torment the creator. He is greater than everything including hurt. And if you still dont think forgiveness and second chances (which go hand in hand by the way) are required by Jesus read Matt 6:15. Osama doesnt deserve a second chance, but in that same breath neither do we.
David Creek said…
Ten years ago I would have been incensed at the idea of giving a man like Bin Laden a second chance, let alone really praying believing that I was really praying for his best rather than for his worst.

But today, my answer has become yours. Saul of Tarsus is a name that must come up.

Saul of Tarsus. What kind of man was that? A proud man. A terrorist. A legalistic man. A legalist. etc.

But when he became Paul, what words could we have of him then? Loving. Tender-hearted. Bold but truly for God this time. Though he had moments of fright just like us, through the strength and comfort of the Lord, he was fearless.

Simon Bar-Jonah, what kind of man was that? A brash man. An impetuous man. A man who was so flawed just like anyone else but the Peter we see writing 1 and 2 Peter is not the man who cut off Malchus' ear and who distanced himself from the Gentile saints to please the Jews who were sent from James. In all the Bible, aside from Jesus, I love the heart of Peter most, flaws and all.

...David Creek, what kind of man was that? A timid man. A coward. A selfish person. A negative worrying complainer. Someone who had trouble controlling his anger.

But after Christ, in spite of my weaknesses and flaws, I've been growing up into His man.

But just the thought - that if Adolf Hitler had somehow and someway obeyed the Gospel, though he would have been executed whether or not he took his life in the bunker, if he obeyed the Gospel from the heart, he is just as precious in the sight of God as Paul Ted Bundy is, if he did indeed obey from the heart as well.

Then I think about sin - how all sin is unrighteousness.

How me maintaining an anger problem 4 years ago was just as sinful as someone living a homosexual lifestyle.

They dragged a half-naked woman before Jesus who was caught participating in adultery.

She was impure. She was a whore. She deserved to die.

Jesus said He'd love this woman and give her another chance.

They dragged a notorious murderer-thief-insurrectionists before the mob and gave them a choice.

The power of God said "I'll give Barabbas another chance." And the guilty, sinful, violent man was let go while the innocent, pure, spotless Lamb of God died on his cross.

He died on my cross. He died on your cross. And I'm so glad He's given us a second chance...and a third chance...and a fourth chance...

And a 9,157th chance...and a 9,158th chance...

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